The forthcoming auction in the States for the old analogue television signal wireless spectrum has been well covered due to Google's interest.

It was thought that the internet giant was interested in placing a bid for the $4 billion bandwidth as it would enable them to become a standalone phone operator.

Now, rumours of a new major player's interest in the auction will mean headline news again - Business Week are citing "sources" that suggest Apple are interested.

Apparently Apple has "studied the implications" of bidding in the auction, due to held in January 2008, and speculation as to why this would be of interest to the company seems to fall mainly to the iPhone.

Business Week states that signals at the 700Mhz spectrum "could provide far faster internet access than today's cellular or even Wi-Fi networks, and the signals can easily pass through buildings and work glitch-free, even in lousy weather".

A former Apple exec is quoted as stating: "With the kind of cash position they have and the kind of push they just made into the handset space (with the iPhone, and now with the iPod touch, which also has Apple's Safari Web browser built in), it makes a lot of sense for them".

It seems Apple might be considering buying the spectrum in order to cut-out carrier involvement in its wireless products, and possibly even offer an online "cloud computing" solution for Mac users.

Most of the complaints about the iPhone in the US are related to AT&T - Apple's network partner - and apparently for Jobs, ending this partnership would not be a sacrifice.

"Apple is the most anti-carrier company there is", said the Apple exec. "They're probably already frustrated with AT&T. If they put a few billion behind this, they could build a kick-ass network."

Despite initial set-backs relating to how the spectrum was to be split, Google has stated that it is "still very interested" in bidding in January so the two companies - that enjoy a close business relationship with Google's Eric Schmidt on Apple's board of directors - could go head to head in a bidding war.